BA plays down Australia exit reports

BA plays down Australia exit reports
By admin

British Airways has hinted that it will struggle to continue flying to Australia without its Joint Services Agreement with Qantas, which ends next March.

The British flag carrier told Australia’s competition regulator that in the absence of an alliance it is “increasingly challenging for an international airline to operate services on long haul routes between the UK/Europe and Australia”.

Excess capacity and the “substantial fixed costs” of operating such flights are to blame, it said in a submission on the Qantas-Emirates alliance proposal.

But BA dismissed suggestions it was considering a withdrawal from Australia, a market it has served for 77 years, and insisted it was "committed" to the route.

"We know we have many loyal customers in Australia and they can continue to fly with confidence when they choose Briitish Airways," said Neil Ager, regional commercial manager South West Pacific.

The carrier added that it is "explring options" for when the JSA ends on March 31.

Parts of the BA submission were confidential and removed from the public document, most notably under the heading “impact of proposed venture on BA”.

In a further indication of its possible withdrawal from Australia, BA included a seven-point list of benefits that it has received under the JSA with Qantas.

It described the alliance with Qantas over the past 17 years as “a vital aspect of BA’s ability to offer services and operate in the aviation sector between Australia and the UK/Europe”.

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